It’s been 8 months since I moved to London and I’m still learning big city life. I’m not a very keen learner I should admit though. The more I learn, the more I understand that for me personally living in a city is only possible if I find a way to escape it from time to time.
From my previous experiences of moving to new places I know that integration takes time. Thus, one should never make judgements too fast. I almost did. First half year was quite hard. A month in a hotel in SF, a month in “kind of hotel” in London. After that even having your own room seems like a luxury. No matter that the room is in a flat that you share with 5 other people.
A couple of months of lonely bouldering evenings in a gym. How many and how lonely depends on country’s (you’ve moved to) temperament and your social skills. Mine are far from perfect, so it takes some time. Also, the weekends not really knowing what to do. Or not really wanting it much.
The good thing is that after some time most often something clicks and everything changes entirely. People are starting to say Hi! in a gym. The weekends become choices you make. Lead, bouldering or trad? A day trip or overnight? Pembroke or Portland? Then you can say that you’re starting to learn it. But it’s a work in progress.
One of clear signs of a learning progress is sleepy, tired Mondays with over-your-limit number of coffee cups. This was the case for quite a few Mondays already. The last one (actually a Tuesday after a bank holiday) was especially hard after a very short night’s sleep at Dima’s place in Geneva. Thanks Dima! But it was soooo worth it!
The weekend in Verdon that Gedas narrated so figuratively exceeded our expectations! I was really happy to be able to climb with my friends even when living 600 miles apart. I’m sorry, Mother Earth, my fault. I just can’t resist. It would not be possible without flying unfortunately.
We had three days in Verdon and used them all to the fullest. First day I climbed with Saulė. Finally after years of planning we managed that and I hope I was not too annoying and we’ll climb together again. We climbed (though not clean) Caca Boudin - a wonderful route on Grands Navires. 6 pitches, ~150m. 4 of the pitches in a range 6c+ to 7a+. The rock of perfect quality and the scenery just overwhelming! The boys were climbing Les Extraterrestress. And we kind of beat them, didn’t we? Ok, joking, they were faster, but just barely. The routes were quite close to each other so we had another “competition” - who will make a better picture of the other party. I guess Martynas won with his “sick” pictures as he told us :)
The next day we regrouped. Saulė and Gedas went on to try Les rideaux de Gwendal. And we decided to climb Pichenibule until where it joins Les rideaux de Gwendal in order to avoid the notoriously hard 7b+ pitch at the end of Pichenibule. The plan was good but instead of joining the 6c+ pitch I mistakenly turned to some 7a+ which is still a mystery to me. Honestly, I thought it was a 7c. I don’t express such opinions very often, but this time it’s honest :) Don’t try this one if you’re not comfortable on 7b. Aided all the way and it wasn’t effortless at all :) The last couple of pitches were nice and easy though. Thalwill couple were already waiting for us on top with the camera.
Pizza and French wine refreshed us or maybe exhausted us as we saw the next day :) We chose some shorter routes in order to leave early so that Saulė and Gedas can catch a train back to Zurich and we can return a rental car on time. I don’t remember the name of the route we did, but it was a very good end of the trip. 4 pitches of sunny summer style climbing with the vultures flying so close!
Most of the pictures (probably all the good ones :) were taken by Saulė and Gedas. Thanks!